Thursday, July 30, 2020

Authors. Ghostwriters. Are they real people?

Baby on man's chest

Recently I've gotten hooked on daddy romances. Don't judge me!! They are all sorts of smutty goodness. Besides that, I've been getting a lot of recommendations of authors who write those kinds of books (smutty smut smut), but that is not the point of this article. The point of this article is, are they even real people writing these books? Here's what I mean...

Some of these authors are very prolific. I mean one book a week, one book a fortnight kind of prolific. And there are rumours and talk floating around that they are not real people but a group of ghostwriters all writing under one pen name. These authors are not hard to spot because they have no social media, no profile picture of a real person, limited or no website, and there's next to no way of connecting with them as readers are often wont to do these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bagging authors to write fast and who rapid release because I know authors who do that and do that well and they are authentically fast and proficient writers who produce quality books even if their books tend to be a bit on the shorter end of the spectrum.

Anyway, there was this author that kept getting recommended to me, and I had heard "she" was not a real writer or maybe she writes some books but also that a lot of her books were ghostwritten. I saw some statistics that since 2017 she had over 200 books published. Now that's some serious output. That's like almost a hundred books a year, and who can write that fast? Even the fastest writer I know to produce quality books can only manage two or three a month if they are short books. And no, I'm not naming names. I don't want to go down that road.

Printer typeset

I had been thinking of giving this one author a shot, but I'd heard "things." So I ask in some of the book groups I'm in, and her name comes up a lot as one who uses ghostwriters to produce lots of books quickly, prices at a low 99c to hit the market, and make money from publishing. Then I went to check out her reviews, and they are very mixed, and generally, the quality of the books seems inconsistent. Some are great. Some are filled with mistakes. Some are poorly written. It's not a good picture. For the most part, with reviews, they tend to be fairly consistent with a few outliers. I like to read the one, two, and three-star reviews since they give me a feel for things I might not like in an author's work or style, but hers all seem to focus on poor quality, inconsistent quality, and inconsistent writing style. I was also pointed towards a Twitter thread where the poster was talking about a similar topic, and her writing journey. This author was mentioned as one of the authors who has a stable of ghostwriters producing books for her. That made me wary of trying her but I think I might because she seems to write the kind of books I like to read and as a reader, I'm all about the books. I will try an author at least once since my basic philosophy regarding the unknown is that I will try most anything at least once. Then I can have an informed opinion.

With another author, I had started reading some of her books (yes, she writes a lot of daddy romances but reverse harem too), and I was in the mood for some smutty goodness. Anyway, I tried this new to me author and enjoyed her books. I read about four or five of them and enjoyed her style and her character and relationship development. Then I picked up a new book of hers, she prices her books at 99c upon release, and they go up to $2.99 after a few weeks and read that. A little bit into the book, and I felt like I had reading whiplash. My brain was spinning. I felt like I was reading a completely different writer. The style was different (more aggressive), the relationship development was different, the sex scenes were different, the lead up to the sex scenes were different, and even the speed at which they had sex the first time was different. Really. Like reading an entirely different author. Imagine my confusion.

Here's the thing. I had read enough of this author's books for me to get a feel for her style because they were consistent across five books. The pacing, the plot development, the character development, the relationship development, the first kiss, the first sex scene, all of it had a consistency to them. I knew what to expect, and I enjoyed what I was expecting. Then this other book comes along and smacks me in the face, and I'm thinking these books are written by different people. It seems to be a recent change, so maybe something happened, which caused her to make a drastic shift in her writing style. Some key phrases and terms still jump out as being essentially hers.

Couple kissing lace dress

Now, don't get cranky at me. I know some authors experiment with different styles. Some books are lighter, some books are darker, some books are more serious, and some books are not. But here's the thing. When they are all written by the same person, even when they are different, historical, suspense, contemporary, paranormal, you come to know that some things stay consistent with these authors even if there are noticeable differences. These differences make the books unique, but essentially, the books are still written by the same person and YOU. CAN. TELL. I know this because some of my favorite authors dabble in different genres, and I've read multiple books by them. I'm talking more than ten. And I can always tell those books are authentically theirs. It's like having a signature scent with the one perfume you always wear, and people know it's you. This is a signature author style.

Juliette Cross's books are always intense and emotional. Jayne Ann Krentz's heroes are always dark and mysterious. Rhenna Morgan's men are always alpha and protective. Serena Akeroyd's books always have some little line about saving the environment because that's her thing. Nalini Singh's book are always breathtaking. Madison Faye's books get you revved up from the very first chapter. Consistency. You read enough of your favorite authors and you get to know them. They are the same but different. Familiar yet unique. And that's why this author's new book threw me off so much.

Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz Hers To Tame by Rhenna Morgan

I understand publishing is a job and authors need to make money and make a living too. I get that. That's why I try to buy as many books from my favorite authors as my budget allows so that I can support them. But seriously, I think that it's a little dishonest to be using ghostwriters works and passing them as your own, or even setting up an author profile just to crank out ghostwritten books. And if you read that Twitter thread, there are screenshots of people asking to buy certain ghostwritten books or having ghostwritten books to sell. That thread was an eye-opener.

Old typewriter

Another thing that makes it possible to tell also is that these people have little to no social media presence and a limited website.  I've mentioned it earlier. In this day and age, where readers like to connect with their authors, get to know them, and look forward to publish next, these authors provide you with no way to connect with them. The lack of a proper profile, website, and social media presence are little telltale signs that this author might not be a single real person writing all the books.

And don't misunderstand. I have nothing against ghostwriters. Ghostwriters are writers too, and some of them are excellent and write for very prominent authors or people or celebrities. I think they offer an important service in certain instances and they do help in certain situations with people who are unable for whatever reason to write for themselves. I know someone who made her living as a ghostwriter for a publishing house before she was able to make enough money writing her own books and being able to give up ghostwriting. That was a slow transition over a couple of years as she built up her readership and audience while progressively cutting back on ghostwriting until she could write full time to support herself under her own writing pen name.

What do you think? Have you ever read a book from a favorite author and thought, "hang on, did she write this?" And what do you think about this whole fake author identity, ghostwriter thing? Does it even matter to you as long as you, as a reader, get books to read?

Find Deanna around SOCIAL MEDIA:
blogger  blogger  rss  facebook  twitter  instagram  email  youtube  pinterest  goodreads


  1. Another reason why they might not have a big social media presence is multiple pen names. You used to need different pen names for different genres. Now it's not as frowned upon to use one name for multiple genres. But if you use a multiple pen names, they can be hard to keep up with.
    I've read a lot of books. I'm not sure if I've ever read one from an author I trusted where I thought it might be ghost written. Hmmm.

    1. I have no idea either. I could be reading a lot of ghostwritten books and not know. Some of the authors I read do not have much of a presence.